And we have the word of the prophets made more certain,
and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place,
until the day dawns and the Morning Star rises in your hearts.
(II Peter 1:19)
Would you care to make any predictions about 2017? I mean some really bold, out-on-a-limb predictions. At this time of the year we see a few sensationalist magazines with the latest round of purposely outlandish predictions. Most people don’t take them seriously, of course; it’s all for amusement. I like it when sports shows have a 'bold predictions' segment where commentators take wild guesses at what individuals or teams might accomplish in the coming season. Most people don’t take them seriously, of course; it’s all fodder for discussion.
How’s this for some bold predictions? A virgin will give birth to a son who has the power and authority of God to defeat the devil. His birthplace will be the unlikely little town of Bethlehem Ephrathah, and He will be a descendant of King David. He will preach good news, that He came to bring us peace with God. He’s going to heal the sick, make the lame walk and the deaf hear and the blind see, and He will even raise the dead. Hailed as a king as He rides into Jerusalem on a donkey, He will soon be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver and crucified as a criminal under much mockery. But He will rise from the dead, victorious over death, assuring us of that peace and everlasting life with God that He came to bring. He will then ascend into heaven and equip His followers to spread this good news to all nations, to the ends of the earth. Just how bold were these predictions about Jesus and the events of His life? Not only are they more specific than any predictions we’d dare to make (or at least more specific than we’d expect to get right), but these predictions, these prophecies, preceded Jesus by hundreds or years, some a thousand years or more before His coming. Do you take them seriously? And do you take seriously the One who fulfilled them?
Think of the prophets who shared these revelations from God. (From Moses to Malachi, from David to Daniel, to name a few.) They lived long before the time of Christ, dying before they ever saw their prophecies fulfilled. "But we have the word of the prophets made more certain." What they prophesied has been fulfilled, attested to by scores of eyewitnesses, preserved and still testifying today in a document called the Bible that refuses to pass away with time. This is just one reason why "you will do well to pay attention to it," to the word of the prophets, to the message of salvation in Christ. They spoke a message from God that He Himself upheld and then fulfilled hundreds of years later. We, on the other hand, can hardly make much of a sure prediction about tomorrow. "You do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." (James 4:14)
What is predictable is that you will die; what is not predictable is when you will die. So don’t wait for tomorrow; let now be the time and the day and the year that you pay attention to the word of the prophets, the message of eternal life in Jesus Christ. This message of life in the midst of death is like "a light shining in a dark place." Jesus, the light of the world, brings a hope, a peace, and a joy that the world cannot give and the world cannot extinguish. As His light shines, the day of salvation dawns in your heart. This is what God wants you to know and to have more than anything in life. This is why He spoke through the prophets of long ago. This is why He still speaks through them today in His living testimony to us, the Bible.
See how the blessings of Christmas extend throughout the year to fill your everyday life!
Follow "The ABC's of Christmas" series:
INTRO, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W
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Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church
Daniel is the Staff Minister at Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, El Paso TX.